Thursday Management Series

7 tips to effective brainstorming sessions

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Brainstorming sessions can either yield to a positive outcome or can result in a complete disaster. What you get out of it completely depends on how you conduct it. Here are a few tips that will help you to conduct an effective and a productive brainstorming session –

  • Assign and choose a right Moderator – Like every meeting or a session, it is essential that there is a moderator assigned who guides the whole session and makes sure it is on track and in control. Choosing the right moderator ensures that he knows about the topic intricately and has conversation skills to drive the session as well as listen to ideas put forth by people without dominating others. He should also ensure that the environment is calm throughout the session and the end-result is productive.
  • Identify and choose a goal – Identify and choose an appropriate and a specific goal. Breakdown a bigger goal into chunks of achievable small goals that are clear, measurable, relevant and time-bound.
  • Set a time limit – Like meetings, brainstorming sessions need to have a certain time limit set. Otherwise, its very easy to continue going on with discussions forever if its not time bound. The moderator should be able to lead the discussion to reach a positive outcome and ensure that the session completes within the set time limit.
  • Note down the points – Be prepared with a white board, markers, notebook, pens, laptop or whatever is it that can help you take notes during the session. Every idea that comes out, whether good or bad, should be noted and sketched out. It is quite possible that after a few days you might forget what was discussed. It is always better to have something to look back at.
  • Don’t judge ideas – No idea is good or bad. The whole idea of conducting a brain storming session is to come up with all possible ideas that can help reach a goal. AN idea thrown will be interpreted differently by everyone which can again generate newer ideas and lead to a whole lot of possibilities.
  • Encourage people – This session was conducted so that every one can participate in it. Encourage people to speak up and share their ideas and opinions. There will always be a few people who shy away or are simply nervous of the fact that what people might say. Encourage every person involved, make them comfortable and be all ears when they share their idea.
  • End with a specific plan or idea – Sometimes, a brainstorming session can be conducted when there is just a general topic/idea in mind and you want inputs from everyone to develop it. It is OK to begin on such a note as long as you reach a specific outcome in the end.

These are just some basic rules or general ideas to get you started on a brainstorming session. How do you handle your sessions? Use the comments below to share with us any other tip that you use to effectively handle brainstorming sessions. We will be happy to read them!

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